Have you ever wondered why you hear of Mint Julep drinks at the Kentucky Derby going for over $1,000? We are here to tell you why that is.
Sipping on one of the most iconic Kentucky Derby beverages, the Mint Julep is a tradition for horse racing watchers at Churchill Downs every year. In fact, the track says that it sells about 120,000 on Kentucky Derby weekend and some can go for a price upwards of $2,000.
So why is this beloved drink so expensive?
You hear about people dropping thousands of dollars on this drink consisting of bourbon, sugar, fresh mint and crushed ice, but why?
Actually, the normal price of a Mint Julep at Churchill Downs hovers around $11 a cup, but for the swanky spenders, the concoction can be priced at $1,000-plus purely because it’s sometimes sold in a 24-carat gold plated souvenir cup with a silver straw.
Are the people who are buying this overpriced drink just wasting their money because they have boatloads of it anyway? Yes and no.
The Mint Julep is sold in those souvenir gold-plated mugs very selectively. In fact, there are less than 100 of them available during the race and all the proceeds for the drink go to charities mostly focused on animal neglect and sometimes the Old Friends Thoroughbred Retirement Center — a center for retired horses, basically.
We can thank these big spenders because they have helped to raise over $330,000 in recent years for these charities.
If you want to enjoy a Mint Julep at the track and you don’t have $1,000 burning a hole in your pocket, just settle for the regular $11 one that vendors are selling like hotcakes. For those of you who have never had a Mint Julep at home, it’s simple to make — recipe attached below.
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 cups water
- Fresh mint
- Crushed ice
- Kentucky bourbon (original recipe uses Old Forester)
- Silver julep cups
- Make simple syrup by boiling sugar and water together for five minutes.
- Cool and place in covered container with a few sprigs of mint. Let sit in refrigerator overnight.
- Fill cup with crushed ice and add a tablespoon of the syrup and two ounces of bourbon. Stir well.
- Garnish with sprigs of fresh mint.
- Drink and enjoy.
Enjoy, Derby fans.